NGC 2264, The Cone Nebula, The Christmas Tree Cluster, and the Fox Fur Nebula.

This is a region of space that's fascinated me since I was a kid and saw it on the front of Nigel Calders' book, 'Violent Universe'
It can be found in the constellation of Monoceros, and is part of a much larger H-alpha rich region, which also includes the Rosette nebula.
The Christmas tree cluster can easily be seen in a small telescope, and when seen without the surrounding cloud, does look very much like a Christmas tree.
If you look at this image upside down you'll see it.
The Cone nebula is at the bottom, and is about 7 light years long.
The Fox Fur nebula is in the centre right of the image, and is well named I think.

I tried to image this for the first time in late 2007, when I'd first got my Atik 16HR, and was surprised how faint the nebula was.
At the time, I binned my subs 2x2 to increase sensitivity, but was never happy with the resultant lack of resolution.
In 2008 I wanted to have a go with unbinned subs, so, if I wanted a decent signal to noise ratio, I knew I'd need more subs.
This was imaged on the 7th, 9th,10th,11th & 12th December 2008.
It was awarded joint picture of the week on StargazersLounge for Christmas week, 2008.
My first Christmas No.1!!

Click on image below for full size version



Telescope. William Optics ZS80FD .with 0.63x focal reducer.

Camera. Atik 16HR,

All subs are 8 minutes unbinned.
Ha is red, OIII is blue
Green was synthesised with Noels' actions.
Ha was also used as a luminance layer.

Ha x 80
OIII x 18

Total integration time. 13 hours 4 minutes